Toner (skin care)

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In cosmetics, skin toner or simply toner refers to a lotion or wash designed to cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores, usually used on the face. Toners can be applied to the skin in different ways:

  • On damp cotton wool. (This is the most frequently used method.)
  • Spraying onto the face.
  • By applying a tonic gauze facial mask—a piece of gauze is covered with toner and left on the face for a few minutes.

Users often apply moisturiser after toner has dried.

Types of toners[edit]

Skin bracers or fresheners[edit]

These are the mildest form of toners; they contain water and a humectant such as glycerine, and little if any alcohol (0–10%). Humectants help to keep the moisture in the upper layers of the epidermis by preventing it from evaporating. A popular example of this is rosewater.

These toners are the gentlest to the skin, and are most suitable for use on dry, dehydrated, sensitive and normal skins. It may give a burning sensation to sensitive skin.

Skin tonics[edit]

These are slightly stronger and contain a small quantity of alcohol (up to 20%), water and a humectant ingredient. Orange flower water is an example of a skin tonic. Skin tonics are suitable for use on normal, combination, and oily skin.

Astringents[edit]

These are the strongest form of toner and contain a high proportion of alcohol (20–60%), antiseptic ingredients, water, and a humectant ingredient. These can be irritating and damaging to the skin as they can remove excess protective lipids as well as denature proteins in the skin when a high percentage of alcohol is used.